The EIL experience offers high school students the chance to travel, immerse themselves in the experience of travel, and immerse themselves in the cultures to which the travel takes them. The Experiment takes them to a place different than their home, and allows that place and the ideas they find there to decide the directions of their learning.
Experimenters are introduced to a method of traveling that involves more thinking, more doing, and more fun than the regular trip. We explain to them the importance of moving outside their comfort zone into the learning zone, a challenging and exciting zone in which their experiences lead to intercultural and personal growth. We process these experiences as a group, understanding the challenge and finding the learning together. Alongside intercultural discussion and reflection, we find time to just be—an important part of the Experiment.
By the end of the program, Experimenters have each developed an interest in the aspects of travel, as well as a deeper understanding of themselves. They learn to express themselves as they process their travel, and have developed unique senses of observation that help them organize their learning. Some Experimenters bring home a confidence in their ability to accomplish their goals, while others bring home the ability to let go of the details and appreciate the pace of life while traveling.
The EIL experience in South Africa is all of these things, set in a beautiful and complex country filled with welcoming and loving people eager to help the Experimenters participate in all they can. There is so much space to explore and so many conversations to be had—the experience is unforgettable in the life of an Experimenter. – Maureen McCarthy (Group Leader South Africa 2013)
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport, where you will be transported to your lodge. Once a light snack has been served and you’ve rested for a while, we will run an orientation session at the lodge. The rest of the afternoon will be yours free to relax with a relaxed dinner at the lodge.
Explore the historical city of Cape Town, visiting the Castle (dating back to the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century), the Bo Kaap, also known as the Malay Quarters and the South African Museum. Walk to District Six – the area cleared of its people by the Apartheid Regime/government during the sixties and seventies. Thereafter you will have your first Xhosa/Afrikaans language lesson back at the lodge. South Africa is known for its “Rainbow” nation. Experience our different cultures by learning to cook various meals and delicacies for each evening of your time in Cape Town.
After breakfast you will first have another Xhosa/Afrikaans language lesson. Then make your way to meet the ferry to Robben Island (weather permitting) for the three and half hour tour of the island, where our first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years. “Today when I look at Robben Island, I see it as a celebration of the struggle and a symbol of the finest qualities of the human spirit, rather than as a monument to the brutal tyranny and oppression of apartheid. It is true that Robben Island was once a place of darkness but out of that darkness became a wonderful brightness, a light so powerful that it could not be hidden behind prison wall.” Nelson Mandela. Spend the afternoon at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and dinner back at the lodge.
After an early breakfast, visit Table Mountain (weather permitting) and the breathtaking scenery of the Cape Peninsula fringed with dramatic seascapes. Admire the pristine Clifton beaches, visit the mythical meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean at the Cape Point Nature Reserve and meet the African penguin colony at Boulders Bay Beach. Return to the lodge for another Xhosa/Afrikaans language lesson.
After breakfast, you will have your last Xhosa/Afrikaans language lesson. Explore the reality of life for many South Africans, the legacy of the past political system and the hope for the future under our country’s new democracy. Have lunch and take in the colourful vibrant energy of Cape Town’s townships, Langa, Bridgetown and Rylands. Spend two hours in a community vegetable garden and thereafter join the youth of Baphumelele for a djembe drumming session and later a typical South African braai.
After breakfast you depart for Oudtshoorn travelling through the vineyards and fruit growing areas of the Langeberg region on into the semi-arid region of the Little Karoo. (Lunch en-route). After dinner you will have the evening free to relax.
After an early breakfast, make your way to Grahamstown. A blend of history, art and culture packaged in a rustic city, Grahamstown’s architectural wonders make it the perfect fusion of the past and present. This quiet city comes alive and transforms into a hub of culture and activity with drama, music, art and markets as thousands of visitors flock to the city for the annual Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
Three days to enjoy the Grahamstown Arts Festival.
With a long day ahead, travel to Plettenberg Bay for the start of your home-stays with the Kwanokuthula or Kranshoek community, traveling through the Tsitsikamma Forests and Nature’s Valley.
Home stays in Kwanokuthula/Kranshoek and the Community Service Project.
Bid your host families farewell and move on to Oudtshoorn through the beautiful lake district of Knysna and Wilderness. In Oudtshoorn, explore the spectacular limestone caverns of the world renowned Cango Caves in the Swartberg Mountains and a visit to an ostrich show farm with the opportunity to sit on the world’s largest flightless bird. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax.
An early start to travel into the Great Karoo to Bloemfontein en route to the Drakensberg mountains.
After breakfast you will continue through the beautiful country to the Drakensville Resort at the foothills of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, a world heritage site with its majestic vistas of the highest mountain range in the country. Spend the next four nights at the Drakensville Resort.
The days will be spent enjoying the interesting programme planned for this beautiful area. Assist at a community outreach programme for one of the days.
You are off to an early start for the final leg of our journey to the Mpumalanga Province located in the north-eastern part of the country, traveling through the Natal Midlands to Nelspruit, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Kruger National Park”.
After an early breakfast, explore the Lowveld Escarpment and Panorama Route of the Mpumalanga Region (meaning ‘the place of the rising sun’), offering breathtaking landscapes with attractions like the Blyde River Canyon (the world’s third largest and the only green canyon), majestic waterfalls and high altitude scenic drives leading to attractions like God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck potholes. Then make your way into the Kruger National Park.
Skukuza – Kruger National Park
Two full days in the Kruger National Park with game drives on open air vehicles.
Skukuza – Kruger National Park
Make your way to Johannesburg, arguably the financial hub of Southern Africa, in the Gauteng province. Its cultural legacy is a multicultural melting pot evidenced by the many excellent museums, theatres, galleries and craft markets.
You will visit Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa. Shrouded in myth and controversy, vibrant Soweto is a city of surprise and contrast of starting enterprises and vigorous cultural interaction. Let us give you an insight into black South Africa today.
Spend the morning visiting the Apartheid Museum, dedicated to illustrating Apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. The museum tells the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. You then return to the lodge to prepare for the final farewell dinner.
The morning will be yours free to do some last minute shopping. In the afternoon, you will bid farewell to the South African experimenters. Pack your bags for your flight back home and you will be transferred to OR Tambo International airport.